Abortion: “A Real Slaughter of the Innocents Is Being Carried out Every Day Throughout the World” — John Paul II
A Call to Catholics—A Call to All Americans
The American TFP Convokes All Catholics to Oppose This Calamity
Throughout its two thousand year history, the Catholic Church has never given the slightest approval to abortion. Much to the contrary, Popes, bishops, doctors and moralists have been very emphatic about the importance of Catholics abstaining from anything injurious to human life developing in the mother’s womb.
This emphasis, however, has been especially felt from the reign of Pius XI on. This is so because, although the campaign in favor of abortion has long been waged throughout our century with fluctuating intensities, it has taken on a special vigor in our days as a result of an immensely sad fact: with the infiltration of progressivism into Catholic ranks, there is a growing number of persons who, while professing to be Catholics, also manifest themselves in favor of abortion. In so doing, they do not hesitate to clearly oppose the voice of the Popes. Of course, some of those who so proceed may be ignorant that this is the official teaching of the Chair of Saint Peter. Others, however, and it pains us to say this, do it knowing full well what is the unwavering teaching of the Roman Pontiffs.
Such a situation sows the seeds of confusion and disorientation among many Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The Catholic Church’s grandiose and unshakable firmness in opposing abortion was always a pillar to even those who, though not belonging to the Church, nevertheless felt admiration and respect for Her position. This confirmed their own opposition to abortion.
On the contrary, they must evidently feel disoriented when they see Catholics rising up in favor of abortion even after the most recent Papal condemnations. This weakens the entire line of resistance against this crime, including those segments outside the Holy Catholic Church.
Thus, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) — the defense of the sacred institution of the family being one of the essential elements of its trilogy (Tradition, FAMILY, and Property) — thought it indispensable to publicly show those Catholics in favor of abortion how they are misinformed or perhaps misguided, while at the same time strengthening the resolve of those who are against it.
However, the voices of the Popes themselves are better than any arguments. We will, therefore, proceed to cite ten very conclusive Papal texts on this subject. The reader, however, should not delude himself that this exhausts the subject. There are many more. We limit ourselves to these for brevity’s sake.
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP)
* “Those who hold the reins of government should no forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent, and this all the more so since those whose lives are endangered and assailed cannot defend themselves. Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother’s womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or of others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cries from earth to Heaven.”1
– Pius XI
* “But another very grave crime is to be noted, Venerable Brethren, which regards the taking of the life of the offspring hidden in the mother’s womb. Some wish it to be allowed and left to the will of the father or the mother; others say it is unlawful unless there are weighty reasons which they call by the name of medical, social, or eugenic ‘indications.’ … There are those, moreover, who ask that the public authorities provide aid for these death-dealing operations, a thing, which, sad to say, everyone knows is of very frequent occurrence in some places. … What could ever be a sufficient reason for excusing in any way the direct murder of the innocent? This is precisely what we are dealing with here. Whether inflicted upon the mother or upon the child, it is against the precept of God and the law of nature: ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ The life of each is equally sacred, and no one has the power, not even the public authority, to destroy it.”2
* “Moreover, every human being, even the child in its mother’s womb, receives its right to life directly from God, not from his parents, nor from any human society or authority. Therefore there is no man, no human authority, no science, no ‘indication’ whether medical, eugenical, social, economic or moral, that can show or give a valid juridical title for a deliberate and direct disposing of an innocent human life, that is to say, for an action which aims at its destruction, whether such destruction be intended as an end or as a means towards some other end which may itself be in no way illicit. So, for example, to save the life of the mother is a most noble end, but the direct killing of the child as a means to that end is not lawful. The direct killing of the so-called ‘valueless life,’ whether born or unborn, which was practiced a few years ago in numerous instances, can in no way be justified.”3
* “Indeed, all must regard the life of man as sacred, since from its inception, it requires the action of God the Creator. Those who depart from this plan of God not only offend His divine majesty and dishonor themselves and the human race, but they also weaken the inner fiber of the commonwealth.”4
* “Vatican II reiterated the point: ‘Abortion and infanticide are abominable Crimes.’ … The first and most fundamental right of man is the right to life, that is, to the protection of his life. And no one can have a contrary right where an innocent person is concerned. The weaker the subject is, the more he needs protection, and the more all have a duty to protect him. The mother is particularly accountable as long as she has the baby in her womb.”5
* “I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life — from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages — is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God…. Let me repeat what I told the people during my recent pilgrimage to my homeland: ‘If a person’s right to life is violated at the moment in which he is first conceived in his mother’s womb, an indirect blow is struck also at the whole of the moral order, which serves to ensure the inviolable goods of man. Among those goods, life occupies the first place. The Church defends the right to life not only in regard to the majesty of the Creator, who is the first giver of life, but also in respect to the essential good of the human person.’”6
John Paul II
* “I wish to recall emphatically to your memory today only the following: the killing of unborn life is not a legitimate means of family planning. I repeat what I said on May 31st of this year to workers in the Parisian suburb of Saint Denis: ‘The first right of man is the right to life. We must defend this right and this value. In the contrary case, the whole logic of faith in man, the whole program of really human progress, would be shaken and collapse.’”7
John Paul II
* “On my part I owe it to my apostolic office to reaffirm as clearly and as strongly as possible what the Church of Christ teaches in this respect, and to reiterate vigorously her condemnation of artificial contraception and abortion. Yes, from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages, all human life is sacred, for it is created in the image and likeness of God.”8
John Paul II
* “Dear brothers and sisters: on this evening when we celebrate life, we are also mindful of the many threats to life which exist in our technological society. Of incalculable danger to all humanity is the rate of abortion in society today. This unspeakable crime against human life which rejects and kills life at its beginning sets the stage for despising, negating and eliminating the life of adults, and for attacking the life of society.”9
John Paul II
* “Over the last twenty years, many states have renounced their dignity as defenders of innocent human life, enacting laws permitting abortion. A real slaughter of the innocents is being carried out every day throughout the world.”10
John Paul II
Published in The Washington Post on January 23, 1989.
Distributed during that year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C.
- On Christian Marriage (St. Paul Editions, Boston), pp. 33-34.
- Ibid., pp. 31-32.
- Address of Pope Pius XII to the Italian Catholic Union of Midwives, The Clergy Review, Vol. 36, No. 6, pp. 382-383.
- Mater et Magistra (St. Paul Editions, Boston), p. 55.
- The Pope Speaks, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 334-335.
- Homily at the Mass on the Capitol Mall, Washington, D.C., October 7, 1979, Sacred in All Its Forms (St. Paul Editions, Boston), pp. 160-161.
- Homily at the Mass for families, in Cologne, Germany, November 15, 1980, Sacred in All Its Forms (St. Paul Editions, Boston), p. 196.
- Homily at the Mass for families, in Cebu City, the Philippines, February 19, 1981, Sacred in All Its Forms (St. Paul Editions, Boston), p. 204.
- Address to the Youth, to the Aging, and the Disabled in Vancouver, B.C., L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, October 8, 1984, p. 17.
- L’Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 11, 1988, p. 6.